A few months shy of two, Frodo wanted to find out what happens when toddlers stop being polite, and start getting…toothy.
Little dude found out alright. Instead of weaning on his own terms, he got a little encouragement from his mama.
I could start teary tippy typing about how emotional it was, and how I’m so sad that this part of his babyhood is over, and maybe I’ll feel all the feels one day. But for now, I’m relieved that it’s over. He was biting, and that’s what’s fresh in my mind. He didn’t bite just sometimes. He bit every time. I’m beginning to think that was nature’s way of showing us the door.
Even though it was mucho unpleasant for me, I didn’t just cut him off suddenly. I wanted to usher us both out of this phase in a loving, gentle way. Here’s how I approached gradual and gentle weaning from breastfeeding.
The first week, I gave him a filling snack before bed and nap, since he depended on pre-sleep feedings to fall asleep. I would let him nurse at our usual times, but instead of letting him go as long as he wanted, I would pop him off a little early while still awake. This allowed him to relax enough to get sleepy, but fall asleep without help. He quickly and willingly started to take in a little more food while awake, and not rely so much on calories from breastmilk.
On the second week I replaced our bedtime nursing session with fingerplay songs. This may not work for everyone, but I knew my little dude would drop everything to snuggle in close for a round of Twinkle Twinkle or Eensy Weensy Spider. Once it became our new sleep cue, I used the songs to usher in naptime as well.
The third week, we eliminated the morning nursing session. We were both reluctant to let this one go. He didn’t want to give up his pre-breakfast, I didn’t want to give up my extra 10 minutes of lounging in bed. In an ideal world, we would have a nice, long morning snuggle to make up for it, but Frodo has something else in mind.
“Mo mo mala,” he demands.
Translation: morning banana. And if I don’t hop to, he cranks the volume and the whole house is up.
Occasionally, he’ll still ask for “molp.” I’ll make a joke of it. “Milk is for babies! Are you a baby or a big boy?”
“Biiiiih boh,” he’ll reply, arms raised high.
I don’t think he’s mad at me 🙂